Art Therapists are individuals who have completed a clinical masters in art therapy. We are qualified to work in a variety of mental health and education settings, including but not limited to psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitation, hospice, residential treatment, medical hospitals, and private practice. Many art therapists go on to specialize in a particular area of mental health, just as with any counseling profession, such as eating disorders, addiction, child/adolescent/adult/geriatric populations, etc.
There are 3 levels of professional practice of art therapy:
- Masters level: An individual who has successfully completed their masters (or post-master’s certificate) program may call themselves a professional art therapist.
- ATR: This is our national registration credential. Once a masters level art therapist has completed 1000 hours of post masters, supervised, direct client contact, she/he may apply for their national registration. If you think of the post masters requirement for a professional counselor, this has been intentionally structured to be the same. (A professional counselor must complete 4000 post masters hours, with 1000 hours of direct client contact.)
- ATR-BC: This credential is reserved for the professional who has earned their ATR, held it for at least 1 year and then successfully completed the national board certification exam, a test that is overseen and administered by the National Board of Career Counselors (NBCC), the same body that oversees professional counselors.
There is a new “bonus” certification in art therapy of the ATCS or Art Therapy Clinical Supervisor. This is designated for ATR-BC’s who have demonstrated competence and expertise in the supervision of professional art therapists. For more information you can go the the ATCB’s (Art Therapy Credential Board) website.